In downtown Victoria, the flags hang at half-mast to mark the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of COVID-19.
One year ago, the World Health Organization‘s Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanaom Ghebreyesus, declared a global pandemic.
“We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear.”
On March 11, 2020, panic buying hit the grocery stores, including Country Grocer on Vancouver Island.
Operations Manager Craig Cavin remembers the phenomenon of panic buying.
“Definitely remember it. People coming in waves. It didn’t make any sense,” Cavin said.
Today, Cavin watched a CHEK News story featuring his store one year ago and the manager recalls exactly what it was like inside his store at that time.
“Seeing myself saying it was crazy in the last video. Reaction’s the same. It was crazy, it was unprecedented times.”
He notes that things have calmed down since the day the pandemic changed the world just one year ago.
“It isn’t as stressful as it once was,” Cavin said. “There is hope at the end of the tunnel here.”
With a possible end to the pandemic in sight due to the arrival of more vaccines, people have more hope but are also feeling more frustrated, according to University of Victoria Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Dr. Bonnie Leadbeater.
“I do think people are tired. We have been in the equivalent of a war. We’ve been isolated from our families, we’ve been isolated from our friends, we’re doing the best we can. And there isn’t a real close end in sight.”
While people have different feelings and thoughts on the current global pandemic, there is one thing most people agree on: it’s been a long and unprecedented year.
“Personally, an event, I just had a baby. So that’s a big event in our life that’s occupied and got me through,” one woman said while walking with her baby.
“I have a grandson that I haven’t seen yet. So yeah, I think we all miss our family and friends,” a woman said about her family.
The hope now is that the pandemic will be a distant memory this time next year.